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School bells set to ring for the first time in six months

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ISLAMABAD:

Educational institutions across Pakistan will reopen in three phases from Tuesday (today) after the longest shutdown in the country’s recent history due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Welcoming millions of children back to school, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the government’s priority and the nation’s collective responsibility is to ensure that every child can go to school safely.

Educational institutions are reopening after more than six months of closure following the drop in the number of new cases of coronavirus. For the reopening, the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) had issued standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Tomorrow we will welcome millions of children to school. It is our priority and our collective responsibility to ensure that every child can safely go to school to learn,” Imran said in a tweet. . “We have made every effort to ensure that school operations comply with public health safety rules on Covid-19.”

Tomorrow, we will welcome millions of children to school. It is our priority and our collective responsibility to ensure that every child can safely go to school to learn. We have worked to ensure school operations are aligned with public health safety rules on # COVID19

– Imran Khan (mImranKhanPTI) September 14, 2020

School closures were first ordered in Sindh, where Pakistan’s first coronavirus case emerged on February 26 this year. Initially, educational institutions were closed for two days, February 27 and 28. However, the Sindh government then closed educational institutions for an additional 15 days – from March 1 to 15. However, as more and more cases surfaced in other provinces, the federal government closed all educational institutions across the country from March 16 to May 31.

On June 1, the annual summer vacation began at schools, colleges and universities. Yet when the coronavirus cases continued in July, the shutdowns of educational institutions were extended for another three months.

During this period, not all institutions were able to conduct annual reviews. In April, the Cambridge Board announced it would cancel A and O level exams around the world, including Pakistan, and give students a direct mark.

Later, the federal government, after consulting with all provinces, also announced the cancellation of registration and entrance exams nationwide and decided to promote students directly to the next class.

In the meantime, some private and later public universities in Pakistan have launched a series of online courses for their students, who initially encountered difficulties including blackout and lack of internet access.

But for lack of alternatives, private schools have also launched online courses for their students, which are still ongoing. At the same time, a formal formula was developed for the grading of the students.

On September 7, in accordance with a joint decision of the federal and provincial governments, the authorities decided to reopen educational institutions in stages. In the first phase, the 9th and 10th classes will start in schools from Tuesday (today).

Likewise, teaching and examinations at colleges and universities will also begin from Tuesday. In the second phase, classes from 6th to 8th grade will start from next week on September 22, while primary and pre-primary classes will start from the end of September.

Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the decision to reopen educational institutions would apply to both public and private sectors, in addition to vocational centers and religious seminars.

He said the government had to make tough decisions during the lockdown period, which included promoting upper secondary students to the next class.

According to the CNOC, the necessary instructions have been given for the schools to reopen, asking parents and teachers to adopt safety measures, while sending their children to school.

Send children to school with masks, even if it is a cloth mask, CNOC said, adding that if the child has a cough or any other symptom of illness, he should never be sent to school. “If the condition worsens, the child should be tested immediately,” CNOC said.

According to the guidelines, the school must be immediately notified in the event a child tests positive for Covid-19. For teachers, the CNOC ordered that social distance be maintained between children and that children wash their hands regularly or use disinfectant.

According to CNOC guidelines, drivers who take children to school or college should ensure social distancing in their vehicles and ensure children wear face masks when seated in vehicles.

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